O.D.D. or ASD or normal???

(6 Posts)
BillywigStings Tue 06-Nov-18 13:25:53

DS is 3. Sorry if this post is a bit jumbled, it’s hard to describe exactly what my sons behaviour is like.

I’m not sure if I’m just a bad parent who doesn’t want to pay enough attention to my child, but I feel like I have to constantly entertain my child to avoid awful behaviour and it seems like other people don’t need to do this for their kids.

As a child myself I don’t really remember my parents ever sitting down to play with me as a daily occurrence, or even offering regular schedules activities and outings outside a ballet class I went to for a couple of years and the nature walks my dad often took me on. I do remember endless days of unstructured playing alone, with our dogs, and with my brothers and sisters on our farm. I wandered everywhere and had a lot of freedom and would never go to my parents if I was bored unless I was stuck in a room with them, eg at the doctor.

With my three year old though, I have to fill our day with offerings of outings (park/beach/grocery shopping) or activities (painting/baking/puzzles) and one on one play with him. He does play alone a lot, but with constant questions and asking me to come and play. If I decide to just let him play alone for more than half an hour at a time he starts to play up a little though. I have no idea how my parents managed to have me playing out of sight in my room or outdoors for the majority of the day, because the times I have attempted this, the way he acts looks like Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

Behavioral symptoms:
* Easily losing one’s temper / throwing repeated temper tantrums
* Arguing
* Fighting
* Refusing to follow rules
* Deliberately acting in a way that will annoy others
* Blatant hostility towards others (particularly random strangers who he will interrupt and shout at when we are out)
* Being unwilling to compromise or negotiate
* Blatant and repeated disobedience
Cognitive symptoms:
* Frequent frustration
Psychosocial symptoms:
* Difficulty making friends

What do you think? I feel like I am making too much of it and he’s just a regular little boy who is a little terror. But at the same time, on days he is cranky, or when we have visitors or daddy is home (he is usually at work almost all the time) he acts like this (pasted from another post):

He’s just SO hard to keep happy, especially for people other than me, as I know in detail the best way to approach, for instance, getting him to eat dinner when I suspect he’s not in the mood for lasagne that day (even if he might have loved it last week). Daddy comes home sometimes and they play together, and he’ll call DS1 ‘baby stegosaurus’ because he was insisting the night before that he was a stegosaurus(for example). But today, he is most definitely NOT a stegosaurus and he is getting upset and whinging now. NO he’s NOT peppa pig today either! Cue a whingey scream. Now anything daddy says to him is answered sullenly and with a whingey voice and he makes rude demands (‘play with this car RIGHT NOW!’) and if daddy challenges this behaviour (don’t speak like that, there’s no need to whinge/daddy is just trying to be silly with you, you like being silly don’t you?) things escalate and if we don’t divert his attention and subtly calm the situation via distraction it goes into a full on meltdown.

The above type of situation happens regularly, at least once a day. To me it almost seems like when other children are tired and they play up, except he gets like this so often. And the rest of the day he constantly demands ‘play with me mummy!’ , which I try to do but half the time I just have to say no I’m busy.

I just feel he is so bloody constant and I am constantly keeping him happy. He can play alone though and often does though only once I have said ‘I can’t play now’ about 20 times.

I feel silly even making a post about this but when I see other parents with their kids it doesn’t seem like they have to manipulate every little situation to avoid a melt down. It seems like he’s been getting steadily worse since 18 months or so and got very much worse at age 3 exactly.

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BillywigStings Tue 06-Nov-18 13:29:37

I will also add that the reasons I am so desperate to avoid meltdowns is that he gets violent. Scratching, hitting, kicking, spitting , breaking things, urinating - we tend to manage to de escalate before we get to this point but if we refuse to back down and insist on him apologising/having a time out/ doing the task he was asked to do, this is what we get

OP’s posts: |
BillywigStings Tue 06-Nov-18 13:33:39

I just feel there are never any consequences for his actions because they trigger his meltdowns. If he breaks a friends toy for instance and doesn’t say sorry on his own accord we just have to let it go, though we will have a firm word about it (which he blatantly ignores and talks over) because if I say “please say sorry to _” he will begin the meltdown cycle. And if I say “if you break _’s toy on purpose I will take one of your toys and take it away” even though he is warned there’s a reasonable chance he will still do it, and when I remove the toy he will meltdown. What am I meant to do?

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BillywigStings Tue 06-Nov-18 13:36:17

Oh and finally (and sorry for the repeated posts) isn’t ODD a result of being in a violent/turbulent situation at home? The behaviours seem to match but if I suggest this an I going to have social workers descend? We have a normal home and very little arguing (which we never do around kids) and no domestic violence!

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Kleinzeit Tue 06-Nov-18 22:05:34

From your description I can see why you're concerned. It's hard to tell if your DS has a problem or not.

On the one hand... it's fairly common for children not to want to play alone all the time - maybe you were more self-sufficent than most. And maybe your brothers and sisters and the freedom of the farm gave you a very different environment from the one you are raising your DS in, one where he has less scope for independent play than you had? Some of the behaviour you describe could simply be attention seeking.

And he is only three so distracting and de-escalating are usually better than challenging him. If he breaks a toy on purpose that means he is already on the edge of meltdown and anything you do to challenge him will tip him over the edge.

But on the other hand, some of his social behavior does sound unusual and possibly worrying, and so is the fact that he is constantly in a temper.

So do I think it would be a good idea to go to the GP and talk this through. Your DS might benefit from a referral to a developmental pediatritian. The doctor might also refer you to a parenting group, it's sometimes part of the process and it might help. You will need to tune your discipline to fit his personality and following a positive parenting program could give you some ideas.

It might also be a good idea to send him to a playgroup or nursery. First you would get a break while he still gets get the attention and and stimulation he craves. Second, the nursery will be in a good position to see how he behaves around other children and they will have plenty of experience to compare his development (especially his social development) to other children. That will clarify whether he needs help.

isn’t ODD a result of being in a violent/turbulent situation at home?

ODD can be the result of a lot of different underlying problems, or it cn exist as a condition in its own right. For what it's worth my DS had a lot of ODD behaviour, as a result of an undiagnosed autism-spectrum condition. After he was diagnosed we and the school started to manage him a way that suited his needs much better, and a lot of the ODD stopped. In any case three would be very young for an ODD diagnosis.

if I suggest this an I going to have social workers descend?

There's no sign of a violent/turbulent background so even if he has ODD there's no reason for social workers to descend.


BillywigStings Wed 07-Nov-18 09:29:41

Thank you. I have actually just removed him from nursery as they were not good. His previous nursery was good though and had good communication and never indicated a problem.

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